With the local elections looming, the scramble for your votes is hotting up. The three main City of York party leaders explain why you should choose them...

Dave Merrett, Labour

Running a successful council requires a broad vision, local focus and determination.

Labour has all these. We have worked with the minority parties to make the tough strategic decisions the main Lib Dem opposition prefer to avoid.

We have achieved excellence in key areas such as education, housing, children's services, and transport plan delivery, and are good in most of the remainder. This despite being the lowest funded and lowest spending unitary authority per head of population, and with our council tax now in the bottom three per cent in the country.

Labour will provide opportunities for all. We want all our citizens to fulfil their potential.

Labour will continue to ensure high quality education and training for our young people, providing skills for life in a complex and ever-changing world.

We will continue to invest in local job creation, maintaining and developing our very successful local economy.

Labour will preserve and enhance York's wonderful historic and green environment, while ensuring the city does not stagnate.

We will increase the the amount of quality affordable housing, and not build at ridiculous densities as the Lib Dems propose.

We will promote the case for a major upgrade of the Northern Ring Road and removing unnecessary through traffic from the city centre.

We will implement our "Street Environment" proposals which will produce a step change improvement in the quality of maintenance of your street environment later this year.

Doorstep recycling will be introduced across the city.

Labour will improve life for families, investing in childcare and enhancing leisure facilities.

Older people will be helped to live independently, in their own homes, for as long as possible.

Labour will invest in improved community safety.

We will modernise the way the council works, making our services both more efficient and more accessible.

Labour has the ambitious vision and the commitment to improve delivery that is needed.

Steve Galloway, Liberal Democrat

TWENTY years is a long time, in a democracy, for one party to be in control.

Although sustained only by the votes of three Conservative and one Independent councillor for the last 12 months, many residents will welcome the opportunity on May 1 to make a decisive change from Labour.

Liberal Democrats have visited 50,000 York homes.

An analysis of 11,000 Big Survey responses has guided our manifesto proposals which can be found on our web site (www.btinternet.com/-libdem.york).

We need to re-establish pride in the city. We are as fed up as most residents with vandalism, dumped cars, litter, dangerous roads and loutish behaviour.

We need to invest in proper leisure facilities for teenagers and integrated community policing programmes for our streets.

Pride in our city extends to preserving our built environment and its unique green belt setting.

We would reverse the decision to reserve greenbelt land for the erection of 5000 new properties.

Instead, we would concentrate additional homes - of three or four storeys high - on previously developed brownfield land - behind the station, for example.

We are not proud that our city has tolerated allowing 30 elderly people to remain in hospital beds when they need local community care.

Nor would we be tolerant of the huge £30 million back-log in maintenance work which has developed at our schools, swimming pools and sports centres.

We want a change in attitude. The council is aloof.

The present leadership has become mired in controversy and in-fighting. It is obsessed with messages and spin, on which it spends hundreds of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers money.

In a sentence, we will provide the city with stable, responsible leadership based on the consent of its residents and focused on providing affordable, good quality, services.

John Galvin, Conservative

The election on May 1st is an important election and will set the tone for the next four years.

The Conservatives recognise the fact that we shall not take control of the city council but what we can achieve is to continue holding the balance of power which has been good for York.

During the past three years we have put aside party politics and got on with the job.

Not only have we represented our ward electors but have actively supported those issues that were right for York and it's residents, this we will continue to do.

In so doing we know we leave ourselves open to criticism by those who wish to make political capital at our expense.

Those same people do little to improve services, rather they positively work against such improvements in the hope of gaining political advantage.

Support for policies based on sound common sense which are affordable and deliverable have had, and will continue to have, our support.

We have not nor will we support policies that are ill thought out, unaffordable or undeliverable.

A pledge we have given to the residents of York is that we will deal with matters in an honest way; and we will put people before politics and do what is best for York.

Yes Conservatives want a safer York, safe from crime, safe from speeding traffic, yes we want a second to none education for our children, yes we want a better public transport system - in short, we want what everybody wants - but we must live within our means and not continually dip into the tax payers pocket to fund fanciful schemes.

We will oppose any move towards regional government which will we believe be yet another burden on the taxpayer.

Conservatives pledge to deal with matters in an honest way, we will put people before politics and do what is best for York.

Updated: 10:54 Tuesday, April 08, 2003